Construction is in full bloom in Orem.

The city issued 135 building permits in April, an all-time record. The city also set a record for the number of single-family residential permits issued - 80. Total value of building permits issued in April is $10.6 million, including $8 million worth of single family homes.That means the value of the average home being built in Orem is $100,000. Builders covering all spectrums of the housing market say they've never seen things so good.

"We can't even talk to all the people who call us," said Alyce Brinkerhoff, whose husband operates Roger Brinkerhoff Construction in Orem. "It's never been like this."

Roger Brinkerhoff, who's been in business 10 years, builds upscale custom homes that range in price from $200,000 to $800,000. He typically builds four to six homes per year.

This year he'll build between six and 10 homes, Alyce Brinkerhoff said.

"We don't know anybody that isn't feeling covered up," she said.

What's driving the building boom? Builders credit a mixture of factors: a strong local economy, Utah County's attractiveness as a good place to settle and low interest rates.

"A lot of people are returning to this area to live who've done well financially in other parts of the country," Alyce Brinkerhoff said. "We also work with a lot of people in business for themselves. The economy is doing so well they are upgrading and building bigger dream homes."

Dennis Carter, owner of Carter Construction in Orem, says the building climate hasn't been this good since the late '70s. Carter covers the range from first-time home buyer to custom dream-home buyer.

"The majority of the homes are on the upper end," Carter said. He adds that homes priced between $100,000 and $250,000 are selling "very quickly."

And 95 percent of the homes built are presold, which prevents overbuilding and having to sit on homes, Carter said.

Panda Bear Homes Inc. expects to build 75 homes this year, about 10 more than last year. Average sales price is $85,000, according Glen Arnell, vice president of Panda Homes.

Arnell said the tight rental market is causing people to have to go out and purchase homes.

Orem's building boom is keeping its building inspectors hopping. Last month the city performed about 620 inspections, said Bob Moore, division manager of current development and acting division manager for code enforcement.

"They were working pretty hard," Moore said.


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Building booming

Orem isn't the only city reporting a building boom. Here's a look at building permits issued in other communities in April:

Total Homes

Alpine 7 2

American Fork 8 4*

Pleasant Grove 18 9

Provo 46 17

Springville 12 5

*In January, the city issued 48 single-family building permits. Builders bought permits prior to an increase in hookup fees.


(Additional information)

Breaking records

In April 1991, Orem City issued 135 building permits, including 80 single-family residential permits. The city issued two commercial building permits worth $1.6 million.

Previous record for total permits was 105 - set in July 1990. Previous record for single-family residential permits was 57 - set in April 1985.